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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: A New Weighing Mechanism for Universal Precipitation Gauges

Authors
item Hanson, Clayton
item Burgess, Michael
item Windom, James
item Hartzmann, Ronald

Submitted to: Journal Hydrologic Engineering
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: January 28, 2000
Publication Date: January 20, 2001
Citation: Hanson, Clayton L. Burgess, Michael D., Windon, James D., Hartzmann, Ronald J., A new Weighing Mechanism for Universal Precipitation Gauges, Journal Hydrologic Engineering, pp 75-77, 2001.

Interpretive Summary: There is a continuing need for high-resolution, low- maintenance precipitation gages that can be used in remote locations. Recently developed integrated circuit technology and new reliable load cells have made it possible to develop a battery-operated weighing system to measure and record precipitation electronically on a continuous basis. A system was developed to replace the spring scale, and chart and/or potentiometer system that is generally used in the universal weighing-type gage. This system records and stores the depth of water in the collecting bucket at least every 15 min or as often as every 1 min if 0.25 mm of precipitation has fallen during the 1 min period. The measurement sensitivity of the system is 0.08 mm of precipitation over a range of 305 mm. A laboratory calibration of the system showed a very good linear relationship between voltage and the water level in the collecting bucket. This gaging system is ideal for remote locations because the circuitry draws very little quiescent current; therefore, a small solar panel keeps the system's 12 V battery fully charged.

Technical Abstract: Recently developed integrated circuit technology and new reliable load cells have made it possible to develop a battery-operated weighing system to measure and record precipitation electronically on a continuous basis. This system was developed to replace the spring scale, and chart and/or potentiometer system that is generally used in the universal weighing-type gauge. The system records and stores the depth of water in the collecting bucket at least every 15 min or as often as every 1 min if 0.25 mm of precipitation has fallen during the 1 min period. These data are later telemetered to a central data storage facility. The measurement sensitivity of the system is 0.08 mm of precipitation over a range of 305 mm. A laboratory calibration of the system showed a very good linear relationship between voltage and the water level in the collecting bucket. This system is ideal for remote locations because the circuitry draws very little quiescent current; therefore, a small solar panel keeps the system's 12 V battery fully charged.

Last Modified: 8/22/2014
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